ChocoFlan – Moist, decadent chocolate cake layered with a luxurious, silky smooth flan and topped with a Mexican caramel sauce called cajeta. This chocoflan is one of the most delicious and magical cakes you’ll ever make. It’s gorgeous and tastes even better. 🤩
The first time I encountered chocoflan was at a Cinco de Mayo party where my friend dubbed it the “Impossible Cake.” I was intrigued and had to make one of my own. The list of steps looks intimidating, but I was shocked to find it’s actually quite easy and impossibly delicious! 🤤
It’s seriously hard not to go back for seconds and thirds with this cake. For me, it’s all about the beautiful combination of textures and flavors. Cake, flan, and cajeta make the perfect trio if you ask me.
What Makes It Special
What Makes Chocoflan So Special?
Cake and flan go beautifully together, but I think what really makes chocoflan special is the cajeta. Cajeta is the Mexican version of caramel sauce. It’s a lovely sticky sauce made by caramelizing goat’s milk and sugar until it turns into a thick, rich brown sauce. If you’re familiar with dulce de leche made with cow’s milk, which I’m also obsessed with 🤫, it’s similar as far as color and texture go. Cajeta is literally and figuratively the icing on this cake, and it is uh-mazing!
- Chocolate Cake – For the cake half of this dessert, you’ll need all the basic cake ingredients plus cocoa powder, cinnamon, hot coffee, buttermilk, and chopped pecans or nuts of your choice. These ingredients make for a rich chocolate cake that is just divine.
- Flan – For the flan half, you’ll need sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream cheese, eggs, and vanilla extract. So yum!
- Cajeta – You can buy ready-made cajeta at your local Mexican store or make it yourself. If you want homemade cajeta, you’ll need goat’s milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. You can also substitute regular caramel sauce for cajeta if you aren’t a fan of goat’s milk.
How to Make Chocoflan
- Prep the Pan – Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan, or use a baking spray instead.
- Add Cajeta – Then pour the cajeta into the bottom of the pan and set it aside.
Make the Cake Batter
- Cream the Butter and Sugar – Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar at a medium to high speed until it’s fluffy and starting to look white, 4-5 minutes. (Photos 1-2)
- Add Eggs – Stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well between each addition. (Photos 3-4)
- Dry Ingredients – Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon into the batter, and then add vanilla extract. (Photos 5-6)
- Wet Ingredients – Then pour in the hot coffee and mix well. Finally, pour in the buttermilk. Stir until everything is thoroughly combined, and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. (Photos 7-8)
Make the Flan
- Combine – In a blender, combine all the flan ingredients: condensed and evaporated milk, cream cheese, eggs, and vanilla extract. (Photo 1)
- Blend – Pulse on high for 30 seconds or until all the ingredients are combined. (Photo 2)
Assemble It All
- Chocolate Cake – Spoon the chocolate cake batter into the Bundt pan with cajeta and spread it evenly. (Photos 1-3)
- Flan – Carefully pour the flan mixture over the chocolate cake batter forming a layer of cake and a layer of flan. Do not be alarmed if the cake mixes together a little. It will separate when it bakes. (Photos 4-6)
- Cover – Then, cover the Bundt pan with foil paper. Place the cake tin on a roasting pan and then carefully pour about 1-inch of hot water into the pan.
- Bake – Carefully transfer the roasting pan into the oven, and bake for an hour, or until the surface of the cake is firm to touch or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool – Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Chill the flan in an airtight container in the refrigerator until the flan firms up. It will take a couple of hours.
- Flip – Once chilled, place a large pan or serving platter over the Bundt pan, grasp the two tightly together, jiggle a little and flip it over, so the chocoflan comes out onto the serving platter. Scrape any remaining sauce from the bottom of the pan and spread it on the cake.
- Serve – Top with more Cajeta and garnish with chopped pecans, if desired.
- Change up the cake batter. It won’t really be chocoflan if you don’t use chocolate cake, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use any cake batter you like! So how does spicyflan with spice cake batter sound?
- Vary the flan flavors. You can go with this creamy cream cheese flan, or you could try a flavored flan, like coconut or rum and ginger flan. Mmm! 😋
- Swap out the cajeta. Instead of cajeta, try dulce de leche or regular ol’ caramel sauce. 🤎
Tips and Tricks
- Grease the pan thoroughly. Be sure to get into every single nook and cranny when you grease your pan, even if you are working with a nonstick Bundt pan. Oil or melted butter will work great for this.
- Remember to preheat the oven. Getting the temperatures and timing right is key to this recipe, so don’t forget to preheat your oven before you begin whipping the chocolate cake batter.
- Allow the cake plenty of time to cool. Don’t remove the cake from the pan fresh out of the oven; otherwise, it could tear and fall apart. I repeat, don’t do it! If the Bundt pan is still warm to the touch, then it is too soon to remove the cake.
- Homemade cajeta is a combination of goat’s milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Slowly simmer them on the stove until it thickens and turns into a caramel. You can adjust the quantities to your liking.
Chocoflan is actually best made ahead of time since it needs time to bake and then chill. You can make it three days in advance and store it in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve chocoflan chilled and drizzled with plenty of cajeta sauce (or another sauce of your choice).
Store any leftover flan in the fridge in an airtight container, so it doesn’t pick up any strange flavors from the fridge air. It should stay good for 3-5 days.
Chocoflan earned this title because of its strange behavior when you bake it. Even though the chocolate layer goes in first and the flan after, when it comes out of the oven, the layers are reversed, with the flan sinking to the bottom and the cake floating. 🤯
The baking soda with the buttermilk’s acidity produces gas, making the batter rise during the baking process. The denser flan batter sinks, and the ingredients switch places. Crazy, right?
Word on the street is that chocoflan comes from a fusion of French and Mexican cuisine, which came about sometime in the early 20th century when French immigrants settled in Mexico and South America. 🌎
I’ve done it, and it was awesome! However, it was incredibly time-consuming. Not a problem, though. Just replace the water and heavy cream in my caramel sauce recipe with an equal amount of goat milk, cut the sugar in half, and add a dash of cinnamon. You’re good to go with the recipe.
What Goes With Chocoflan
More Fancy Dessert Recipes to Try
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Crème Brulee
- Coconut Cream Pie
- Passion Fruit Pudding Cake
- Malva Pudding
- Bacardi Rum Cake
Sure, chocoflan takes a little time to make, but it is totally worth it. You’ll have a gorgeous dessert that tastes so good you’ll give yourself a little pat on the back. Have you tried this amazing recipe yet? Please leave me a recipe review when you do. 😉
Watch How to Make It
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This blog post was originally published in September 2020 and has been updated with additional tips.
- ½ cup cajeta, plus extra for drizzling on top when serving (you can also use caramel sauce)
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup hot coffee
- ½ cup buttermilk, regular or low-fat
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped (or other nut)
- Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven—Preheat to 350℉/175℃.
- Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan, or use a baking spray instead.
- Pour cajeta into the bottom of the pan and turn to coat it. Set aside.
- Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar at a medium to high speed until it’s fluffy and starts looking white, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well between each addition.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon into the batter, and then add vanilla extract.
- Pour in hot coffee, and mix until combined.
- Finally, pour in the buttermilk.
- Stir until everything is fully combined while scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- The roasting pan will work as a water bath during baking.
- In a blender, combine all the wet ingredients: condensed and evaporated milk, cream cheese, eggs, and vanilla extract. Pulse high for 30 seconds until all the ingredients are combined.
Assembling and Baking
- Gently spoon the chocolate cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan and spread it evenly.
- Carefully pour the flan mixture over the chocolate cake batter, forming a layer of cake and a layer of flan.
- Don't be alarmed if the cake and flan mix together a little because they will separate while baking. Cover with foil.
- Place the cake in the roasting pan, then carefully pour about an inch of hot water into the pan.
- Transfer the roasting pan to the oven, and bake for an hour until the surface of the cake is firm to touch or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove and let it cool to room temperature. Once it has cooled, wrap it in plastic wrap (this prevents the chocoflan from absorbing other flavors from the fridge).
- Place in the refrigerator until the flan firms up, about two hours (but it will keep for four days).
- Place a large pan or serving platter over the Bundt pan, grasp tightly together, jiggle a little, and flip it over.
- Remove the pan, scrape any remaining sauce from the bottom of the pan, and spread it on the cake.
- Top with more cajeta and garnish with chopped pecans if desired.
Tips & Notes:
- How to Make a Cajeta? Cajeta is a Mexican caramel sauce. It is a combination of goat’s milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Slowly simmer them on the stove until it thickens and turns into a caramel. It’s also known as “dulce de leche”.
- You can find Cajeta in most supermarkets, especially in Latin specialty markets or online. If you can’t find it, then sub it with a thick caramel sauce.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.